Citroen Ford Hyundai Video Volkswagen WRC

2014 Rally Australia video highlights

2014 Rally Australia video highlights

If you missed any of the TV footage from Rally Australia fear not, because here’s just under four minutes of all the best bits. Follow this link to the Best of Rally Live YouTube account if you’d like to see more.


Rally Australia fighting for last place

2014 WRC Rally Australia

Rally Australia organisers are planning to bump Rally GB from the last event on the WRC calendar from 2016 onwards. The 2015 calendar has Rally Australia in the same September slot as this year, with Rally GB in its traditional finale position.

However, Rally Australia boss Ben Rainsford, who is negotiating with the FIA to secure the event until 2018, reckons a warm Aussie summer would make the perfect send off for the WRC year.

“We’re pretty open about wanting to be the last event in the championship and we’ll push hard for it, very hard,” Rainsford said. “We’re looking at putting on a gala dinner, an end-of-season party in Sydney. The city’s ripe for it and Sydney’s good at that kind of thing.

“An Australian summer is a very good place to be, especially when you’re in a European winter. We’ve run as the final round in Perth a few times and it was very popular.”

Rally GB has hosted the final event of the WRC season 33 times since the series began in 1973 and organisers are keen to maintain that spot.

“Rally GB has always presented a unique and demanding challenge to the teams and a fitting climax to the championship,” said Ben Taylor, Rally GB managing director. “Over the years it has thrown up some thrilling finishes and it makes sense for the key WRC markets for those to be played out in a European time zone.

“We certainly don’t presume the right to hold the final event, but Wales Rally GB is on an upward curve and we are committed to working with our partners, the FIA and the promoter to deliver the best possible rally with which to end the next two seasons and beyond.”

[Source: Autosport]

Citroen Ford Hyundai Volkswagen WRC

2014 Rally Australia in pictures

2014 WRC Rally Australia

In our biggest WRC gallery yet—there’s 88 photos in all—here’s your chance to relive Rally Australia. If you’re a Volkswagen fan this might be one to bookmark becuase for the first time in their WRC existence the German juggernaut claimed a clean sweep of all three podium positions.

Also taking a clean sweep were the photographers plying their trade down under. These are some of the best rally pics we’ve seen all year and we’re chuffed to be able to share them with you all.

Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2014 Rally Australia

2014 Rally Australia

Sebastien Ogier led a dominant Volkswagen team to victory at Rally Australia on the weekend. Volkswagen drivers filled all three podium steps in order of seniority, with Jari-Matti Latvala finishing just 6.8 seconds behind Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen a bit over a minute further behind.

With that Volkswagen successfully defended its manufacturers championship and in record time too. There’s three rallies left in the season and with a 50 point lead Ogier is favourite to claim his second world championship, ahead of teammate Latvala.

On the forest tracks around Coffs Harbour Citroën driver Kris Meeke showed good early pace fighting for a podium position until a 61 second penalty was handed to him for cutting a corner illegally. That left him back in fifth battling with Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen, a three time winner down under.

Meeke’s pace was still strong and he was able to claim one position back by the end of the rally, finishing over eight seconds ahead of Hirvonen.

Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon continued his good efforts with Hyundai coming home in sixth place, his best WRC finish to date and one place ahead of team leader Thierry Neuville.

Australia’s Chris Atkinson finished tenth for Hyundai after finding conditions difficult on the first day.

“It’s not been the easiest of weekends as I struggled to get into a rhythm early on in the rally,” Atkinson said. “That has had a knock-on effect for the remaining days, as I was first on the road. That has dictated the extent I have been able to push so instead we just focused on finishing the rally. It’s nice we’ve been able to get all three cars inside the top ten.”

Volkswagen’s press release is available after the break and we’ll have a photo gallery for you later in the week.

Hyundai WRC

Chris Atkinson ready for Rally Australia challenge

2014 WRC Rally Mexico

In rallying terms it’s been a long time since Chris Atkinson was behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC, but he is very much looking forward to grabbing his opportunity at Rally Australia (11–14 September) with both hands.

“There’s been a bit of a gap between events but that hasn’t stopped me before and I’ll definitely give it a good crack,” Atkinson promised in an interview with “My aim is to drive well all weekend and be as fast as possible. I’ll be happy with that.”

Surprisingly, Atkinson doesn’t have any racing experience on the roads around Coffs Harbour where Rally Australia takes place. However, he doesn’t expect that will hinder his performance.

“It’s all new because I’ve never done the rally there.” Atkinson said. “But I should have a good idea about the terrain and fast gravel suits me. Knowing the nature of the Australian roads should play into my hands. I just need to write some good pace notes and drive to them.”

Atkinson will race alongside Hyundai’s lead driver Thierry Neuville and young Kiwi ace Hayden Paddon, who has earned himself some quality seat time in the WRC this year, driving the i20 WRC for three events in a row in Italy, Poland and Finland. In contrast Atkinson has only Rally Mexico to add to his WRC career and knows it will be key to do well against Paddon.

“Hayden’s obviously driving well and has been given a good opportunity with the team. But I’ve got more experience of the WRC. It’s going to be interesting and I’m sure he’ll be quick. I just need to pull my finger out and go as fast as I can.”


Citroen Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2013 Rally Australia

Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2013 Rally Australia

Volkswagen ace Sebastien Ogier enjoyed a commanding weekend around Coffs Harbour winning 19 of 22 stages on his way to a dominant Rally Australia victory. It’s his sixth win of the year and came within a whisker of confirming his maiden world championship.

In order for Ogier to claim the title in Australia he needed to finish nine points or more ahead of Ford’s Thierry Neuville. And for much of the event, with Neuville in third place out of Mikko Hirvonen’s reach in second place, the stars seemed aligned for Ogier.

However, Hirvonen’s Citroën suffered a puncture on the final stage and cost him enough time to promote Neuville into second place. It was rotten luck for Hirvonen who has endured a difficult year. He is a three-time winner of Rally Australia and was enjoying a good rally and looked set for a comfortable second place.

The mathematical chance for Neuville to upset Ogier now hangs on by a single point, although most now expect Ogier will have the luxury of confirming his world title in front of his home crowd in next month’s Rally de France-Alsace.

Elsewhere in the field Jari-Matti Latvala suffered a puncture to his Polo R WRC on the opening day which put him out of contention. He was able to earn some decent points for Volkswagen in the manufacturers’ championship, though, coming home in fourth place. Young Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen put his name in the spotlight ending Day 1 in the lead of the event. His inexperience showed and he finished the race in sixth place.

For Citroën it had subbed out Rally Germany winner Dani Sordo for Kris Meeke. In the early stages Meeke was repaying that faith on the difficult Australian gravel running well and looking secure in third place. On Day 2 a small mistake sent Meeke down a steep embankment and his car rolled several times. The Citroën crew did an amazing job to rebuild the car overnight and Meeke was able to rejoin the rally on the final day. Unfortunately he made another error and ripped the right rear suspension from his car. The 34-year-old Irishman cut a forlorn figure at rally’s end.

A quick shout out too for Coffs Harbour local Nathan Quinn who was competing in a Motorsport Italia MINI JCW WRC and brought it home in one piece in eighth place collecting four world championship points.

Photos, videos and official press statements from both Volkswagen and Citröen are all yours after the break.

Citroen WRC

Rally Australia: Out Dani Sordo, in Kris Meeke

Kris Meeke, Citroen WRT

In a cruel irony former MINI WRC driver Dani Sordo has been cast aside by the Citroën World Rally Team and will be replaced by former MINI WRC driver Kris Meeke.

Meeke and co-driver Chris Patterson will step into Sordo’s car for Rally Australia (13–15 September). An official Citroën WRT statement suggests that Dani can now, “focus on finding form in a less pressurised environment.” Ouch, that’s cutting!

And it gets worse for Sordo, with the team’s appraisal of his Rally Finland performance: “The fastest rally on the calendar proved tricky for Dani Sordo, who was not able to find the right rhythm to make it into the leading places. Sorely lacking in confidence on gravel, the Spanish driver has agreed with Citroën Racing that he will sit out the next round in order to try and take a step back and find some form on the surface away from pressure.”

But it’s all good news for Meeke, who was the first of the MINI drivers to lose his seat, while Sordo carried on until MINI finally pulled the plug. It’s not a bad return for Meeke, who wrote off his Citroën DS3 WRC in his first outing for the team at Rally Finland. He was filling in for regular driver Khalid Al-Qassimi.

“We are really very happy that Citroën has shown faith in us again after our performance at Rally Finland,” Meeke said. “For us, this is an incredible opportunity to take part in the rally as part of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team alongside Mikko and Jarmo, and we are determined to give our best.”

Meeke says he’s comfortable in his new team and is looking ahead to the future, he reveals more in an interview with Red Bull.

Ford WRC

Mikko Hirvonen wins Rally Australia

Mikko Hirvonen wins Rally Australia

Mikko Hirvonen has capped off a great trip down under by winning Rally Australia. The event was held over the weekend at Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast. Even better for Ford was the fact Jari-Matti Latvala competed strongly and came home in second place.

In fact, Latvala lead for much of the final day and team orders meant he handed the win to his teammate who is better placed in the drivers’ championship.

The Fiesta drivers were able to get through a tricky first day with only minor damage after slippery conditions ended the winning hopes of Citroën pair Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier. The two Sebastiens were able to get going again on day two, but time penalties put them well out of contention. In fact they finished the rally in tenth and eleventh.

That meant factory Fords clawed back some valuable points on the lead Citroëns in the manufacturers’ championship, bringing the gap back to 62 points.

Hirvonen was also able to displace Ogier from second in the title race and is now 15 points behind Loeb.

It was Hirvonen’s second race win for 2011 and follows his win at Rally Sweden to kick start his year.

With thanks to the Ford World Rally Team team you can watch a highlights clip below with coverage form all three days of competition.


Repco Rally Australia rocks on despite cancellation of SS6

Australian Rally 2009 - Sebastien Loeb at SS4

Repco Rally Australia began in earnest yesterday. That’s good news for the people of the Northern Rivers region of NSW right? A World Rally Championship event on your doorstep, doesn’t get any better than that, surely!

Not according to the “No Rally” group who forced the cancellation of Special Stage 6 this morning, with reports claiming protesters took to the course waving yellow flags. This caused competitors to slow down and drivers soon became aware that the flags were being waved by protesters, and not race officials. Just three cars had started the stage near Byrrill Creek before it was abandoned.

Apparently the protesters had also cut fences releasing livestock onto the course. More alarmingly, it has also been said that some protesters were throwing rocks at the cars.

This followed other protest activities on liaison stages, where competitors transit between Special Stages using public roads. Supporters of “No Rally” formed convoys and travelled at speeds of around 20km/h. With sufficient numbers they made it virtually impossible for competitors to get past.

Five-time World Champion Sebastien Loeb is quoted as saying, “Some people don’t like us in front of their house but I didn’t ask to come here. I can understand why some people don’t like the rally but I have to do my job.”

After SS6 was cancelled competitors were able to proceed to SS7 and the rally continued.

UPDATE: The coppers are not happy with the rock throwing protesters! […more at Autocar]

[Source: & Eurosport]